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Hardy Lake is located in south eastern Indian known as the southern plains and lowlands region. Wetlands, ponds, mudflats, deciduous woodlands and grasslands make up the diverse habitat surrounding the lake. Wildlife is abundant making Hardy Lake a naturalist paradise. Also know as Quick Creek Reservoir, Hardy Lake lies within Scott and Jefferson counties and was created to solve water supply problems for the surrounding counties. Now Hardy Lake is a recreational delight and offers opportunities for fishing, hunting, boating, camping and hiking.
Hardy Lake is owned and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) which keeps the pool elevation maintained throughout the year. The dam was built on Quick's Creek in 1970 creating the Hardy Reservoir, which now is a vacation destination for any outdoor enthusiast. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources provides numerous camping areas for all camping types. There are full hook-up, electric, non electric and primitive campgrounds. The IDNR also provides a swimming beach with a bathhouse, playgrounds, volleyball courts, archery range and dumping station. The campgrounds can be rented by individual families or by large groups. There is even an area designated for youth group tent camping. Since all the land surrounding Hardy Lake is owned by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources there is no residential development around the lake. Other than camping lake visitors can find vacation rentals, hotel, and bread and breakfast accommodations in nearby Scottsburg and Madison.
With over half of Hardy Lake zoned for idle speed, anglers will enjoy the calm waters as they reel in the prize catch of the day. There are several boat ramps located around the lake with a couple situated in the Hardy Lake State Recreation Area for anglers to put in their boats. Once in the water fishermen can cast in their line for largemouth bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish and black crappie. Other fish that have been stocked in Hardy Lake by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (SWF) include walleye, northern pike and tiger muskie. In the winter months when the lake freezes over anglers bundle up, cut a hole in the ice, and cast in their line for some ice fishing. There is a marina located near the State Recreation Area that provides seasonal mooring, gasoline and rowboat rental.
Hunting and trapping are also two popular pastimes around Hardy Lake. Trapping opportunities are available through sealed bidding process while duck hunting is permitted with the purchase of a federal duck stamp. All hunters must register and sign in and out to hunt. The presence of white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, rabbit, wild turkey, waterfowl, squirrel and mourning doves make hunting enjoyable and exciting.
Trails meander their way through the diverse landscape around the lake providing opportunities for hiking as well as nature viewing and bird watching. Bird watching is very popular among lake visitors. When the leaves turn golden yellow, fiery red and brilliant orange ducks, grebes, coots, gulls and sparrow can be seen migration. The again the same birds can be seen with the leaves are just budding on the trees. Mute Swan, Mallards, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Song Sparrow many been seen nesting. Occasionally, Osprey and Bald Eagles may be spotted by a watchful eye.
Hardy Lake sightseers may want to take a short drive to visit a couple places of interest. The Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is located nearby on Highway 50. The Refuge, with its mix forest, wetlands and grasslands provides natural habitat for wildlife and fish. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy wildlife viewing opportunities and with over 280 species of birds have been seen, bird watchers will greatly enjoy their visit. The refuge has been included on the National Register of Historic Places due to archeological sites located within the refuge. Another place of interest is the Hoosier National Forest which interest visitors with unique features including the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest that has 200 year old walnut and oak trees and the Hemlock Cliffs, which is a forested canyon that has a waterfall and a large rock shelter. The rural setting of Hoosier National Forest offers Indiana's only Wilderness called the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. The Wilderness provides a trail network that provides more remote hiking experiences. Visitors of Hoosier National Forest may enjoy camping, hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, boating, hunting, swimming, picnicking and fishing.
Once back at Hardy Lake visitors can enjoy the crackling sound of the campfire while toasting marshmallows. In the evening campers can listen to the hum of nearby campers as they enjoy some family time. Then at night when all is quiet and the only sounds that can be heard are natured made, rest will come to the sleepy campers. Hardy Lake offers a peaceful setting that can be enjoyed time and time again.
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